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SWWF: Friday, October 27th, 3:30 – 4:30 pm MDT

I would have loved the first book launch I attended after our Covid lockdown, no matter what book it presented. After all, that was my initial chance to be out, not just among people, but among my tribe, and readers. Yet I’m especially grateful that the Silver City book launch on April 29, 2022, at Silver City’s Power and Light Press, was for a book I would come to love: First & Wildest: The Gila Wilderness at 100, edited by Elizabeth Hightower Allen.

First & Wildest will once again be shared in Silver City at the 2023 Southwest Word Fiesta at our Environmental History Panel – Session B – on Friday, October 27, from 3:30-4:30 pm MDT. Venue: TBA.

JJ Amaworo Wilson, Writer in Residence at WNMU and author of award-winning Nazaré, penned “Rambling,” whose essay reminds us we are the intruders in this natural world.

JJ Amaworo Wilson, Writer in Residence at WNMU and author of award-winning Nazaré, penned “Rambling,” whose essay reminds us we are the intruders in this natural world. 

Priyanka Kumar, the author of Conversations with Birds, in her essay, “Jade Mother,” shares the difference between a tame river that runs arrow straight and and a wild one, such as the one that meanders among the birds and mountain lions of the Gila’s wildness. 

Sharman Apt Russell, author of Within Our Grasp, in her essay, “A Stone in Our Pocket,” shares her sense of loss after a forest fire and her wonder at the forest’s changing face.

Each contributor, with their stirring prose, transports us to this glorious land, the first declared wilderness in the US.

Hampton Sides, NYT bestselling author of Blood and Thunder, writes of First & Wildest: The Gila Wilderness at 100: “And now, as this rugged real estate approaches one hundred years of age as a preserve, here is an eloquent, lyrical, exceedingly well-timed paean — a chorus of diverse voices united in their love for this important and sometimes overlooked gem of the Southwest.”

Other contributors to First & Wildest will also appear at this year’s SWWF. Philip Connors will share the Creative Writing Workshop with Daniel Chacon (Saturday, October 28, 10-11 am MDT. Joe Saenz will join the Oral History panelists, Doug Dinwiddle, Javier Marrufo, and moderator Stephen Fox, for their session, on Saturday, October 28, from 5:30 – 6:30 pm MDT.

This event is free and open to the public. Check out the Southwest Word Fiesta website often for updates and registration:

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Southwest Word Fiesta™ or its steering committee.

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Kris Neri

Kris Neri's latest novel is HOPSCOTCH LIFE, an accept-yourself-in-all-your-glory women's fiction-crime crossover, featuring quirky protagonist Plum Tardy. HOPSCOTCH LIFE is a recent New Mexico-Arizona Book Award winner. Kris also writes the Tracy Eaton Mysteries, featuring the daughter of eccentric Hollywood stars: REVENGE OF THE GYPSY QUEEN, DEM BONES' REVENGE, REVENGE FOR OLD TIMES' SAKE and REVENGE ON ROUTE 66, as well as the Samantha Brennan and Annabelle Haggerty Magical Mysteries, featuring a questionable psychic who teams up with a modern goddess/FBI agent: HIGH CRIMES ON THE MAGICAL PLANE and MAGICAL ALIENATION. Her other books include her standalone thrillers, NEVER SAY DIE, DEVIL'S GAMBIT - DEVIL'S DUE, TRUST NO ONE, and two short story collections, THE ROSE IN THE SNOW and MADCAP MAYHEM: THE TRACY EATON MYSTERY SHORT STORIES. Kris has also appeared in a DVD offering writing instruction: WRITING KILLER MYSTERIES WITH KRIS NERI, produced by T2G Productions in Valencia, CA. Her novels have been honored by such prestigious awards as the: Agatha, Anthony, Macavity, Lefty, and New Mexico-Arizona Book Award. Her novels have been honored with three Lefty Award nominations for humor. Three of her novels have been finalists for the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award, and two of them have won it. Her most recent Tracy Eaton Mystery, REVENGE ON ROUTE 66, was a New Mexico-Arizona Book Award finalist, and her most recent Samantha Brennan and Annabelle Haggerty Magical Mystery, MAGICAL ALIENATION, won the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award. Kris teaches writing online for the prestigious Writers' Program of the UCLA Extension School, and other organization. When she isn't writing, Kris loves reading, hiking, and cooking. She loves hearing from her readers through her website, She hails from Silver City, NM, where she lives with her husband and two pushy terriers.
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We respectfully acknowledge that the entirety of southwestern New Mexico is the traditional territory, since time immemorial, of the Chis-Nde, also known as the people of the Chiricahua Apache Nation. The Chiricahua Apache Nation is recognized as a sovereign Native Nation by the United States in the Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Friendship of 1 July 1852 (10 Stat. 979) (Treaty of Santa Fe ratified 23 March 1853 and proclaimed by President Franklin Pierce 25 March 1853).

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Mimbres Press of Western New Mexico University is a traditional academic press that welcomes agented and unagented submissions in the following genres: literary fiction, creative non-fiction, essays, memoir, poetry, children’s books, historical fiction, and academic books. We are particularly interested in academic work and commercial work with a strong social message, including but not limited to works of history, reportage, biography, anthropology, culture, human rights, and the natural world. We will also consider selective works of national and global significance.